QRZ.com running Ubuntu Server

Here’s an interesting interview with some history and behind-the-scenes information about the site qrz.com. QRZ.com is one of the largest sites in the world serving amateur radio.

A quote from that interview:

“The new QRZ runs the Ubuntu 64-bit server.  I’ve been happy with that and I like the Debian package utilities.”

The Interview

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I’ve been thinking for a while about how I might get my antenna to load up on 160m. It’s a 104′ dipole fed with ladder line. I decided to try connecting both sides of the ladder line together and driving it against ground. To match it, I whipped up this tuner in about an hour:

160m tuner


The primary coil is about 8 turns on a CD case, and the secondary is about 50-60 turns on a 2″ PVC pipe. There’s a series varicap at the top of the secondary.

If I had another turn or two on the primary I would have been able to get a perfect match. As it is, I got an SWR of about 2:1 and used the autotuner in the radio to match that.

The band was dead, so no contacts – but I did transmit some PSK31 CQs and used pskreporter to verify that I had been heard up around the Canadian border.

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Moving back to WordPress

I had a self-hosted blog using WordPress a while ago. My experiences with WordPress as a platform and as a community were pretty good. Then I switched to Tumblr when they were brand new, in the hopes of supporting some diversity in blogging platforms.

Now there’s this and it’s the last straw of of nothing-major-but-minor-annoyances and I’m moving the blog back to WordPress. I found an import tool that did a decent job of moving my postings. Comments are gone – sorry about that. Some of the photos didn’t make it over when there were multiples in a post, but nothing too critical.

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remaining Knitting machine source published

As announced over on the antitronics blog, I’ve finally gotten around to publishing the remaining source code and documentation I have for the brother knitting machine. The new files are mostly scripts I used to help decipher the Brother data format, and aren’t terrible useful unless you are interested in digging in to that.

Thanks to Lady Ada for being encouraging about using her git repo.

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Buffer Bloat and network performance

This post is really well written and should probably be required reading for network geeks.

I think it might explain some of the problems I was seeing before I dropped my DSL provider and moved to Knology cable, which I’ve been mostly happy with (Their DNS servers are slow, so I use dyndns).

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Beware Imposed Agility

A few weeks ago at a wedding reception I was making small talk, and was introduced as someone who “works for Canonical”. One of the people in the circle immediately said “OH!, you do Agile development! We’re training for that now!”.

I used to work at the company they now work for, although we never overlapped. I put in as many years there as I have anywhere else, and I can say with confidence that You’ve already lost

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The future electronics lab and mobile hacker space, before and after the flooring installation.

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